What Will ‘Chanakya’ Fadnavis Do Now?

What Will ‘Chanakya’ Fadnavis Do Now?

At this point the attention of Maharashtra has been drawn towards how, as a facilitator, ‘Chanakya’ will compete along with his skills of political intelligence, cleverness and expertise

Raja ManeUpdated: Sunday, October 15, 2023, 11:27 PM IST
article-image
Maharashtra Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis | PTI

In the political history of Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar changed the face of politics by giving birth to a new political culture in the 1970s. Similarly, Devendra Fadnavis is creating a new history and culture in the 2020s. In the fascinating political plot that he himself has constructed, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar are forefront chevaliers, and are stuck at the crucial juncture of the law and legislative regulations. At this point the attention of Maharashtra has been drawn towards how, as a facilitator, “Chanakya” will compete along with his skills of political intelligence, cleverness and expertise.

In 2014, Narendra Modi ushered in a new era by adopting the principle of “result-oriented politics”. Modi’s dreams, flamboyance and strong connection with the new digital age naturally had an impact on the politics of all the states in the country. In Maharashtra too, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s slogan “Narendra in the country, Devendra in Maharashtra” found favour and the government of the BJP-Shiv Sena grand alliance led by Devendra Fadnavis was established. The image of Fadnavis emerged as a scholar, master of Marathi, Hindi and English, a person with deep study of economics who has strong grip on administration and a clean image and can go long way in national politics. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections the country gained gave a commanding majority to Narendra Modi and almost all the parties fought independently in the assembly elections in Maharashtra.

Though Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena rejected the alliance, the people of the state made the BJP under the leadership of Fadnavis and then state president Chandrakant Dada Patil the number one party of the state. Giving new shine to the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, the Shiv Sena was placed at the second position. While we were assuming that based on number of MLAs in 2019 the government of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance would come to power, the diplomatic politics of Sharad Pawar and his use of MP Sanjay Raut as a decisive pawn gave matters an unprecedented twist. The grand alliance of Congress and NCP decided to form the government with Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray. Despite the thought of “I will return” which was in reach, Fadnavis’s dream shattered, as Uddhav Thackeray wrapped up Balasaheb’s tradition to become the “King Maker” and have the remote of power in hand even after being aloof from power. Eknath Shinde, who was ready for the post of chief minister, was sidelined and on the advice of Sharad Pawar and Sanjay Raut, Uddhav Thackeray proclaimed himself as the chief minister and his son Aditya also became a minister. Congress and NCP leaders got a chance to participate in power as well.

As we know Maharashtra politics has had a turbulent recent history — 13 months ago Eknath Shinde led a revolt in the Shiv Sena, and decided to go with the BJP via the Surat-Guwahati way. Uddhav Thackeray, hurt by Shinde’s revolt, chose not to face a vote of confidence in the legislature, and instead resigned from the post of chief minister. This is how Eknath Shinde became chief minister and Fadnavis accepted the post of deputy chief minister saying it was at the insistence of party leaders. Thus, Ajit Pawar who celebrated his afternoon swearing-in ceremony during the journey of the Shinde-Fadnavis government two months ago, created history by becoming the second deputy chief minister in the cabinet. All of Maharashtra is aware that Devendra Fadnavis was the mastermind of all these political upheavals.

From the very first day of Ajit Pawar’s rebellion, Maharashtra speculated that it could be another googly by Sharad Pawar. However, because of the benign statements made by MP Supriya Sule and MLA Rohit Pawar against Ajit Pawar, it is believed that Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar are standing separately in Maharashtra. Even today, Sharad Pawar’s current role puts the country and Maharashtra in a dilemma. Shiv Sena under the leadership of Eknath Shinde and the NCP under the leadership of Ajit Pawar are currently moving towards the rule of thumb proposed by Bharatiya Janata Party’s “Chanakya” Devendra Fadnavis.

In spite of many political upheavals of 2019 the popularity of Fadnavis, who became the leader of the Opposition party, did not decrease. In fact, his popularity increased as a learned, tough and capable leader of the Opposition party who could catch the ruling party at a crossroads. Among them was the history of sending Dhananjay Mahadik, who did not fit into any math of numerical strength, to the Rajya Sabha; thus his political diplomacy was compared to Sharad Pawar. That is why he is known as “Chanakya” — a high point of his popularity. In the last one-and-a-half years, he made history by bringing Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar into his team, but he could not maintain that level of trust and popularity. On the contrary, his popularity started to decline.

Today Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray are gaining sympathy as their party has been hijacked by their own people, while Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar are caught in the maelstrom of Constitution and Legislative Acts and political protection of their MLAs. How will Fadnavis tackle these? Most of the castes and tribes in the state have raised their voices on the issue of reservation; at the same time party leaders are determined to have 45-plus MPs elected in the Lok Sabha elections. Against this background, what “Chanakya” Fadnavis will do, remains to be seen.

(Translation: Amruta Kulkarni)

(Raja Mane is a senior journalist)

RECENT STORIES

Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord...

Two-Time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister & RSS Shanta Kumar, Pained At BJP’s Deviation From Lord...

Analysis: Why Financial Discipline Is Important For Banks

Analysis: Why Financial Discipline Is Important For Banks

Editorial: The Father-Son Disconnect

Editorial: The Father-Son Disconnect

Editorial: Keep Armed Forces Apolitical

Editorial: Keep Armed Forces Apolitical

MumbaiNaama: SC Shows The Way On Climate Change And Human Rights

MumbaiNaama: SC Shows The Way On Climate Change And Human Rights